Sally Magnusson has been given an honorary degree for her outstanding contribution to Scottish life and her support for dementia sufferers.
The long-standing BBC Reporting Scotland presenter, who lives near Torrance, received an honorary doctorate for her outstanding contribution to Scottish life and her support of Stirling University’s Dementia Services Development Centre.
She received the degree on Thursday, the last of the university’s graduation days.
Congratulating graduates from the Schools of Applied Social Science, Health Sciences and Natural Sciences, Sally Magnusson said: “It means a lot to me to receive this honorary degree from a university that has done so much to pioneer a better understanding of the needs and potential of people with dementia through its wonderful Dementia Services Development Centre.”
Sally helped to launch the centre’s virtual care home in 2012 and returned last year to launch her book ‘Where Memories Go’, which chronicles her late mother’s dementia.
After thanking the university on behalf of the graduates, Sally spoke movingly about her family’s experience of living through the ‘dementia story’ and the particular importance of music in enabling her family to help her mother in her final years.
Sally said: “When she was frightened in the bath, she could be calmed with ‘It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow’. And when she was downhearted and depressed, nothing produced a smile like ‘Ye cannae shove your granny off a bus.’
“Singing gave her the ability to produce words in the right order again.
“It seemed to bypass the damaged parts of her brain and made her feel, for those few moments and quite a while afterwards, herself again.”
She concluded by urging graduates to create a society more understanding of dementia, saying: “The society you want to live in when you are 80 is the one you have to start creating right now.”